A few of the great things about the Arroz Tapado dish is that the ingredients are economical, you can double the recipe and serve a large group of people, and it simply tastes great! Over the years, I have changed this recipe quite a bit, more so when we moved to Peru many years ago.
Arroz Tapado is the first ever Peruvian recipe I learned to make while I was living in the United States in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with my Peruvian husband. Around 2001 we had one of my husband’s grown sons and his family living with us for about a year, which found all of us doing quite a bit of cooking together. They introduced us to their version of Arroz Tapado and it quickly became one of our favorite Peruvian recipes. We made this often.
Why Arroz Tapado is such a wonderful dish
Typically this dish is considered a “casero” recipe, made mostly in the house. But I have seen Arroz Tapado offered on the menu at the renowned Isolina in Barranco. There are many variations and versions of this dish. I have seen versions prepared with chicken, pork, and even vegetarian.
This is a wonderful and substantial dish that is filling and I find perfect for the chillier Lima “winter” days. It is a quick-fix dish that is fairly easy to make. You can actually make every portion of Arroz Tapado as big or small as you desire. It is definitely a dish reminiscent to “comfort food”.
Personally, I like to make this dish juicy. I desire a moister, wet texture. You can adapt this recipe to include more vegetables and herbs if desired. This usually makes wonderful leftovers. We like to serve it the next day with a fried egg on top or fill warm tortillas with the Arroz Tapado mixture and roll it up. You can also freeze any leftover meat mixture and use it to stuff papas rellenas or empanadas, or add it your tomato sauce and use on top of pasta.
Arroz Tapado Recipe
Serves approximately 6-8
Prep time: approx. 30 minutes
Cook time: approx. 30 minutes
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup finely chopped white onion
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin, optional
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste (I typically use more for extra concentrated tomato flavor
- 1 tablespoon aji panca paste
- 1 pound (½ kilo) ground beef
- ½ cup seedless raisins
- ⅓ cup pitted black olives, cut in fourths
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped or quartered
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- 6 cups cooked white rice (optional: the rice can be cooked with green peas and carrots or with choclo/corn, my personal favorite)
- Optional: ½ cup beef broth or water
- Cook rice the usual way. Set aside and keep warm.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat and sauté the onion and garlic. When the onion is soft and translucent, add paprika, cumin, tomato paste and aji panca. Stir for a minute until incorporated and then add the ground beef. Cook for 10 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring often. If the mixture looks dry, add some beef broth to make it juicy, no more than ½ cup. Cook until there is no liquid left, but mixture should be moist. Note: I always add the beef broth or stock. If you have none, use water.
- When the ground beef is cooked, season to taste with salt and pepper and add raisins, black olives, hard-boiled eggs, and parsley. Mix well. Turn off the heat.
- In the bottom of an oiled ramekin or bowl, make a layer of the cooked rice (about ⅓ cup), pressing with a spoon. Over this make a layer of the ground beef mixture and lastly cover with another layer of rice. Place a plate over the ramekin or bowl and turn upside down. Unmold the ramekin/bowl.
- Garnish with chopped parsley. I also like to garnish with hard-boiled egg slices as well.
Cover photo: Arroz Tapado/Sheila Christensen Jeanneau